Disclaimer: I make no money from this fanfiction, and I do not own the Harry Potter universe - I just play in JKRs sandbox.
A/N: I wrote this back in July of 2010 for hpcon_envy over at livejournal. It was a gift for to_a_nunnery, using her prompt (listed below). I offered her a short one shot, I think around 500 words or so. Then I ended up writing this, closer to 1500 words. Lorca was my wonderful beta at the time, she fixed all my SPaG mistakes and deserves a medal for her patience!
Title: To Honor Him
Prompt: I'd like to see Hermione and Percy researching and/or studying together - any sort of cozy library setting - please!
Hermione was hot. Not just the everyday, fan herself with her hand as she sits in the library, run of the mill hot; but sweat pouring down her back as her shirt clung to her skin, overwhelming hot. There were ceiling fans mulling around the sluggishly hot and humid air in vain attempt at providing visitors with airflow. Hermione figured the only thing they were really doing was moving the humidity around the room, forcing her to sweat even more. She was in an old Muggle library sitting at one of the research tables, various books spread in front of her. When she had first arrived she had cast a few light privacy charms, but she didn't dare cast anything else.
A cool breeze brushed against her neck, and Hermione closed her eyes and smiled faintly at the small reprieve it brought her. When she opened them again, there was a tall glass of ice water in front of her, sitting atop both a napkin and a coaster to catch any condensation before it could damage the desk.
"Hermione, why are you sitting here without cooling charms?" The voice was stiff, the tone formal. She turned her head to the side and saw him standing beside the desk, arms crossed over his chest which was slightly puffed out in a self-important stance. She sighed silently, dreading the lecture she felt coming.
"Percy, I'm too hot to argue. Please sit," she said, gesturing to the seat across her as she reached for the glass of water and took a few sips slowly, before greedily gulping the remainder of the glass. She smiled at him, "Thank you for the water."
He nodded his head absently as he flicked his wand a few times causing cooler air to begin swirling around them. She closed her eyes briefly, taking a few seconds to bask in the cool breeze before the fans above could pick at it and distribute it around the large room. When she opened them again, she looked at him, taking note of his straight posture and the frown on his face. He had glanced down at the books she was reading. "Slavery Abolishment? The American Civil War? Hermione, why are you reading about Muggle history?"
"Honestly, I wasn't really reading so much as sitting here and watching the words blur on the pages." He lifted his wand and silently recast the cooling charm, and another gentle breeze of cool air surrounded them briefly. She giggled softly at the confused look that crossed his face as the charm dissipated again within minutes.
"It's the ceiling fans, Percy. They are picking up the cool air from the charm and pushing it around the room." His posture slumped slightly, and he sighed heavily. She continued softly, "I learned years ago not to bother with them, unless I wanted to cool the entire library – which could easily become a breach of the Statute of Secrecy as the librarians know full well there is no air conditioning in the building and would question it."
He groaned softly, and then conjured a large pitcher of ice water and another glass. "Well, at least we can keep ourselves hydrated as we sit here. That should help somewhat." He grinned, his eyes lighting up with an idea, and then conjured two towels and folded them lengthwise. He swished his wand at them, anchoring a cooling charm so it couldn't drift up to the fans, before handing her one and wrapping the second over his shoulders behind his neck. She followed suit, and felt the sudden coolness spreading from the towel down her torso. Her moan was slightly indecent for a public location, but low enough that he was the only one to hear it.
"Percy, you're a genius." She whispered before moaning again. He blushed a bright red and lowered his eyes to the books on the table.
He pulled one of the books toward himself, turning it as he did so he could begin reading. He held up a hand as she began to protest, shaking his head gently. "I want to help with your research; you might as well tell me what you're looking for, so I can take notes properly."
She shrugged her shoulders, confused. Percy had been visiting her a lot recently, sitting across from her as she would take notes from whatever tome she was reading in the library that day. Sometimes he would ask questions about her research or anticipate her need for another tome before going into the stacks to retrieve it for her, but mainly he would just sit there in quiet companionship. This was the first time he had made a move to actively help with her research notes.
"I am researching the way that human slavery was abolished around the world. I need to know what actions were taken in which countries, and the reactions of the slave owners."
He raised his eyebrow slightly, seeming intrigued. "Hermione, you do know that human slavery was completely abolished from the wizarding world almost a century before Muggles thought about it. What are you hoping to accomplish?"
She sighed again, wondering how much she should tell him. He knew already her views on the way House Elves were treated, how would he react when she had told him about her plans? 'Only one way to find out, I guess.'
"I want to write a proposal regarding the House Elves, giving them the option to leave their forced servitude if they wish it. However, I need to find a way to word the proposal so it will not cause too many ruffled feathers amongst the families they are currently with." The silence after her statement hung in the air. She licked her lips before reaching for the pitcher of water and pouring herself another glass. He nodded his head when she gestured with the pitcher, and she filled a glass for him.
"I think I understand why you want to do this, Hermione." He said softly after putting his empty glass back on the table. He then reached for one of the ball point pens she had on the table. "I want to help." He blushed, a bashful smile curling his lips.
She smiled brightly at him, thankful for his understanding. Nodding her head, she handed him a notebook. "These are my notes on the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. Could you give them a second look for me? The reference materials are in the pile here." She pointed to a group of books stacked on the table to her left. "I will continue noting important points from the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution from these references." She gestured to a pile of books on her right. They worked silently for hours, switching notebooks every so often.
When they packed up to leave for dinner at the Burrow, he turned to her. "Why aren't Harry and Ron helping you with this, Hermione?" The question was whispered so low, she knew that she could pretend she hadn't heard him, but he deserved an answer.
She stood and turned to look him in the eyes. "They don't know what I want to do. I don't even think they would completely understand why I have to do this." She lowered her head then, and began double checking that she had packed away all her notes. She didn't hear him move, but could feel him move to her.
A finger gently lifted her chin, and her eyes met his again. "You're not alone in the need to do this, Hermione. I watched as Fred died. I don't know what I would have done if any more of my family had died. When I heard that Dobby saved the three of you, it was more than enough reason to respect him. The fact that he died doing so, makes me want to honor his memory. Between the two of us, we'll get this proposal worded so that it cannot be refused." A tear slipped down her cheek at his words, and the gentle kiss he placed on her forehead before he pulled her into his arms brought her solace.
"Thank you." She whispered again, softly. She wrapped her arms around his waist and the two silently held each other for a few minutes. When they unwound, both had tears in their eyes and smiles on their faces.